EDITORIAL – Let’s leave provincial politics out of mayoralty election

Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman. (Image:

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

KAMLOOPS MUNICIPAL politics has thankfully remained untainted by partisan politics throughout its history, and thankfully so. Other than a couple of failed attempts at forming and sustaining civic parties, City council has been free of political labels.

Away from the council table, members support the full range of provincial and federal parties from left to right, but they don’t bring those biases into City Hall. Now is no time to start.

That’s why it’s a little unsettling to hear mayoral candidate Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman appear to be so focused on the fact she campaigned for the New Democrats in the just-completed provincial election.

I’ve read and heard several of her comments and interviews in the past couple of weeks and she seems intent on pointing out she supported Kamloops-North Thompson NDP candidate Barb Nederpel.

She brought it up again in at least two media interviews on Thursday. She does so in the context of explaining that some of what’s motivating her to run for mayor in the September by-election comes from what people told her at the doorstep during the provincial election.

Well, okay, but she’d be wise to stop now lest she become tagged as the NDP candidate for mayor. Provincial political attachments have no business in civic campaigns — roads, sewers and a candidate’s vision for the kind of city Kamloops should become has nothing to do with being NDP, Liberal, Green or anything else.

Civic politics is uniquely local, close to home and neighbourhoods. When members of council debate and vote on issues, they do so based on community, not on party policies.

Ross Friedman’s opponent Ken Christian supported Peter Milobar as the Liberal candidate in Kamloops-North Thompson and made no attempt to hide it, showing up frequently in media photos of the campaign. But he’s never incorporated his Liberalness into his motivation for wanting to be mayor.

There are many civic issues to discuss. Let’s make the upcoming campaign about those, not a re-run of the provincial election.

About Mel Rothenburger (5433 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on EDITORIAL – Let’s leave provincial politics out of mayoralty election

  1. If Ross Friedman is not a one issue candidate like she claims, why not a run at an aldermanic seat first? Many, many of us have helped in campaigns over the years and many many of us are not qualified to be Mayor. I think it would be a stretch to say she would make an excellent Mayor, however would love to see her on Council.

    • Cindy Ross Friedman // June 3, 2017 at 12:11 AM // Reply

      Thanks, Renee! It is not that I am arrogant enough to think I can do the top job without battling as a Councillor first, but rather that I think many many good people will run for Council. I have always seen myself as someone who can bring out the best in others, who can lead by listening, who can hear the underlying consensus. I am the right person for this job because I am a person who can generate trust and get things done. Come to any debates! You’ll see.

  2. Of course it was opportunistic of Milobar, I certainly do not necessarily base my civic voting on someone else’s provincial or federal political position and I think it might just be best if you (the editor) didn’t make your selection and attempt to prevent us from making ours. Of course you are a Ken Christian fan, more of the same, more of the same, more of the same.

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 2, 2017 at 8:54 AM // Reply

      Please don’t generalize about my opinions of candidates based on my comments about one issue. I’ve never stated a preference for one over the other. I’ve known Dr. Friedman for several years and have a great deal of respect for her. If elected, she will make an excellent mayor.

      • Cindy Ross Friedman // June 3, 2017 at 12:17 AM //

        When a former Mayor – and a highly respected one – offers free, honest, public advise, I am flattered and I listen. I enjoy criticism of the constructive sort!

  3. I am not sure I follow you…Milobar was courted as Lake’s replacement because…it was pretty clear he was not a progressive free-thinker. Maybe it was just opportunism…

  4. I think you are wrong that political party affiliations haven’t influenced our civic politics. Our last two mayors were staunch BC liberals who have gone on to run for the BC Liberal party – becoming the candidate is the most partisan thing that you can do. They may not have been open about their political affiliations or partisan beliefs and behaviour, but that doesn’t mean their political leanings weren’t influencing their decisions.

    I actually like the openness. I get the impression that Dr Friedman wears her heart on her sieve. I don’t think you will have to guess about where she is coming from or what she believes. And that’s a good thing!

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 2, 2017 at 8:48 AM // Reply

      As I said in the editorial, members of council often associate themselves with federal or provincial parties “offline” but it’s important to compartmentalize that from civic politics.

      • Why ?

      • I agree to some extent. However, I think that the BC Liberals have been having a say at our council table for years. It has just been behind closed doors rather than out in public.

        Some of the most partisan folks in any party can have devotion to the party that borders on religious. That isn’t shed when they enter council chambers, it is there just beneath the surface. It is nice to know what those affiliations are as they speak to the individual’s underlying values (or lack thereof). More transparency is fantastic, in my opinion.

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